A Diploma in Broadcast Communication led Sam Blackley to a gig with high profile company Communicado, then a run producing youth shows Space, Squeeze, and Coast. Her other career highlights include three years as Channel Manager at Sky TV’s Documentary Channel, and five seasons producing community celebration series Neighbourhood.
Scots-born Erik Thomson moved to New Zealand at age seven. In the mid 90s his career took off, after he began acting in Australia. In 2004 he won an AFI award for feature Somersault, then later starred in Aussie TV hit Packed to the Rafters and NZ drama/comedy We're Here to Help. In 2016 Thomson won a Best Actor Logie for his role in TV series 800 Words, as an Australian widower who moves his family to NZ.
Antonia Prebble played the manipulative Loretta West on Outrageous Fortune over six seasons, before starring in prequel Westside. Prebble began her screen career aged 12 on TV series Mirror, Mirror, and did five seasons on sci-fi hit The Tribe during her school holidays. From 2013 her career got even busier, with starring roles in legal thriller The Blue Rose, Witi Ihimaera film White Lies and bio-thriller The Cure.
Bill Kerton has directing and writing credits on shows from Havoc and Newsboy to Jim Hickey’s A Flying Visit, but it’s his voice that will be most recognisable to punters. Duncan Greive of The Spinoff called him a "narrating genius" for his observational documentary voice-overs. Kerton's distinctive drawl and humour have graced everything from bogans to Neighbours at War, the show he also directed for four seasons.
Gemma Gracewood produced arts series Frontseat over five seasons, then followed it with the ambitious New Artland. Her career has also included stints as radio producer, arts publicist, Metro film reviewer, parliamentary press secretary, and musician.
Stage and screen veteran Rima Te Wiata has showcased her talents as an actor (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), impersonator (More Issues), and singer (Little Shop of Horrors) — often all at the same time. In 2017 Te Wiata was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit, for her work on film and television.
Director Peter Salmon first won attention with 1998 chase romp Playing Possum. In 2007, his coming of age short Fog was invited to Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival. His extensive CV of television credits includes Being Eve, Outrageous Fortune and The Wot Wots. Since moving to Australia in 2012, Salmon has directed several high profile drama series including Rake, Offspring and Wanted.
Tony Holden's producing and directing career spans generations of classic Kiwi comedy, from A Week of It, Gliding On, The Billy T James Show, to Spin Doctors. CEO of production company Comedia Pictures since 1985, Holden has also spent four years as TVNZ's manager of commissioning and production.
Kerry Smith's broadcasting career crossed the gamut: from TV continuity announcer, to playing sharp-tongued deputy editor Magda McGrath on Gloss, to presenting That's Fairly Interesting and home improvement show Changing Rooms. Smith also did many years as a radio host. She died on 20 April 2011, after a battle with cancer.
Simon Bennett's extensive CV includes producing and directing episodes of long-running successes Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune — including helming Fortune's keenly-watched final episode — and producing fantasy series Maddigan's Quest. Bennett began in theatre, and has gone on to spend time as head of drama at South Pacific Pictures, the production house behind all three shows.